Before…. I was already eating very little, but after my appointment with him on Tuesday confirming that I would be having the operation I was on soups, jellies, ice creams only. For Thursday I was on even more restricted, clear liquids only kind of thing, with preparation drinks to drink and all that jazz- not fun although not too invasive.
Friday 20th – went to Oxford with my mum to the hospital where I was having the operation, we decided to go here because I am lucky enough to have some private health care until I am 21 through my Dad’s work, so we went to a recommended specialist for the operation. We arrived at 7.30 and I was kind of surprisingly calm. it was just going to happen. We had to go to the day operation ward because my private room (I know – how lucky!) wasn’t ready until after the operation. We sat in a little curtained off room in a main ward and waited, got weighed and into my gown and pressure stocking and all the other fun – like having named bracelets put on both wrists and all the other admin, such as talks with the nurse and surgeon and signing of some paperwork. 9.30 was the D time, and in the hour before I could feel my heart pumping more and more, panicking, crying, a bit of all the emotional works went on here! A lot of burying my head into my mum and trying to ignore the clock that was staring back at me and a repeating “15 minutes mum, they are coming to take me in 15 minutes2 “13 minutes mum they are coming in 13 minutes”….as I am sure you can all imagine. 9.30 came and went, as did 9.45, and 10…and we asked the nurse what was going on. Apparently the anaesthetist never turned up…the surgeon came at 10.15 and said it would happen within the next hour. Needless to say the adrenaline rush had passed but I was on tenterhooks, totally unable to relax, it was pretty horrendous. At half 11, they came for my operation, and off I went.
I woke up in recovery and remember not wanting the nurse to leave my side, and very much liking the morphine button that was in my hand 🙂 I got wheeled back to my room and my mum was waiting for me. Friday and the Saturday (when my dad came in to visit) was a bit of a morphine haze. Over night I was in quite a lot of pain so they doubled the amount of morphine I got given each time I pressed the button – and I was in a very big haze! I tried to text, or read the guide on the TV to pick channels and there was no way that I could, everything was in double and I felt really sick. I had two cannulas in my left hand, with antibiotics and painkillers in, as well as a catheter.
I don’t really know the best way to write about it, but I basically needed two nurses to help me move in and out of bed into my chair, and to help me wash and get changed etc. I honestly was totally incompetent in doing anything – and I hated the feeling; although at the same time I wasn’t really aware enough of it to care…I used to be able to get into the chair with the help of the nurses, but I needed to buzz them for literally everything – if I dropped something, to help move my pillows about, everything. I managed to get out of bed with the nurses help on the Saturday, and sit in the chair for a few hours. I spent so much time asleep or dozing, and a lot of it confused by the medicine! The next big achievement was shuffling a few steps to the window to look out, but that exhausted me. I managed to also walk outside my room a few days later, again with the support of two nurses, although only a few steps – and later that day mum wheeled me around the ward so I could see better where I was staying.
My parents alternated visiting every day, and bless them they stayed with me for as much of the day as they could, which made all the difference in the world to me. I struggled in the nights with feeling sick, especially after they took the IV fluids away and allowed me to begin to have sips of water. Until then I wasn’t drinkning anything, just using a sponge dipped in water to suck on and keep my mouth from drying out, because swallowing was making me feel really sick. Its weird looking back just how helpless I became. Also, shockingly I discovered I was going to be tummy-button-less! I never really though it through before…the surgery was keyhole so I have two small holes that were used for instruments- although I think these will almost completely clear away, and then the main incision was through my stomach so when they glued it together it kind of glued up my tummy button, which is just so weird!
It was easy to get sad in the hospital, although the staff were incredible and my family were the best support I could ever have asked for, but you do still feel a bit lonely sometimes; when your awake at 4am and just cant get comfy or have a million thoughts running through your head. The reality of it never really hit me until I was lying in that bed pretty much helpless, I never thought how much it would affect me. I feel like I am not an eloquent enough writer to truly get across the depth and bredth of the experiences, I hope that it is giving an insight into what it was like, and that those of you who have experienced something similar can understand.
I had to spend Christmas in hospital, not fun, although I am going to write another post about that, and my slow recovery – I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with a giant post, so I am trying to split it up. This experience has been terrifying for me, truly so. It is the least in control I can ever remember being, and I hated it. It has meant that I realise how supportive and incredible my family truly are, but I am just scared about how long the recovery will truly be. I never quite realised how ill I was, until I was lying in that hospital bed. Scary, but I am out the other side and I hope things will be looking up.